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Saturday, March 2, 2024

“I like challenges against teams from the USA and Canada”

When the U18 Girls World Cup concluded recently in Zug, Switzerland, the striker heard Abigail Byskata from Terjärv to Finland’s leading player with 2 goals and 6 goal-scoring passes in the record. Unfortunately, the Girl Lions didn’t quite make it, finishing in fourth place after a loss in the bronze medal game against Canada. Abigail Byskata thinks she had a good tournament and the team’s performance exceeded expectations.

– It’s a bit sad that we didn’t manage to get to the final, but at the same time you have to realize that the North American teams are tough. We lost to the USA in the semi-finals and to Canada in the bronze medal match. It was a useful tournament, to really be able to challenge yourself against the North American teams. There is a high tempo in the WC matches and it is physically tougher than playing domestic club team matches, says Byskata.

Abigail Byskata played for the U18 national team, which finished fourth in the WC in Switzerland.

Abigail Byskata represents Team Kuortane in the women’s league every day and she also studies at the local sports high school. Studying in Finnish is not entirely easy.

– It is a bit stressful, but most teachers have understood that it is not that easy for me, so they have helped me.

Abigail Byskata has also played soccer. Some time ago, she decided to bet on ice hockey.

Byskata is a ball talent who has dabbled in many different sports. Last year she played both soccer and ice hockey, but last spring she chose to focus solely on ice hockey.

– The time was not quite enough to keep up with both football and ice hockey at the top level. So the choice finally fell on hockey. When I was younger, my brother also played hockey and I maybe got a little spark from him. Otherwise, there hasn’t been much hockey playing in our family.

Abigail Byskata has set her sights high on her career.

That it was Kuortane and Byskata is no big surprise. In 2022, she was part of a national team for younger girls that was coached by Mira Kuisma who also served as a trainer for Kuortane. The proximity to Terjärv and the opportunity to play ice hockey in combination with studies made the choice easy.

Abigail Byskata in the home arena in Kuortane

– School starts at 8 and after a lesson it’s time for training, both physical training and ice training, which ends at 11.30. After lunch, there are lessons until 4 p.m. before it is then time for the second ice training of the day. Then it is time for free time and own studies.

Abigail Byskata is one of Team Kuortanes key players.

Mira Kuisma’s importance to Byskata cannot be underestimated. Kuisma describes Byskata as a versatile and physically strong athlete. Byskata came to Kuortane last year when Kuisma was the responsible coach for the team. Byskata quickly came up to the same level as his teammates. Kuisma describes her development as steady.

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